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While looking into the history of April Fools Day, I learned that pranks should not be pulled after 12 noon on the 1st, or it will bring bad luck to the perpetrator. I had never heard that before, nor that the day supposedly began in the 1500’s when the Gregorian calendar came into use. Previously New Years was celebrated on April 1st, and people who ventured to celebrate on the wrong date were teased as “April Fools” (snopes.com http://www.snopes.com/holidays/aprilfools/origins.asp).
Thankfully I pulled my prank early in the day, with this chocolate cake that includes mashed potatoes. I didn’t tell the kids what was in their treat until afterwards, for fear they wouldn’t try it. There weren’t any complaints though, and they all cleaned their plates, so the cake must have tasted like dessert and not dinner. 


2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 ounces chocolate, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup prepared instant mashed potatoes
3/4 cup buttermilk
confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Heat oven to 375F.
Grease and flour a 9 by 13 baking dish, set aside.
Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt, set aside.
In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time. Stir in melted chocolate, vanilla and mashed potato. Beat in flour mixture alternately with buttermilk, mixing just until incorporated.
Pour batter into prepared pan and bake 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely. Dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving.

Recipe adapted from the Arkansas Democrat Gazette, April 2009